Posted February 8, 2013
Fast forward to September 2014. It is barely five weeks before the civic election in October.
Mayor Karen Farbridge has stepped aside and her caucus has chosen Coun. Leanne Piper to run for Mayor. The run-up of the campaign has been in a word, testy, as rejection of the past eight years of the Mayor and her seven cohorts has ignited a usually passive electorate.
Piper’s most serious opponent is (insert name) who has polarized an electorate with examples of how the city is facing serious long-term debt and internal management problems.
He/she pledges to welcome business development for Guelph. Also to manage the city 12 months of the year instead of the current nine, started in 2013 by the Farbridge council.
His/her speaking style and street campaigning has made him/her the front-runner.
The newly elected Mayor is joined by a long list of ward candidates who seek to recalibrate the city’s business.
He/she promises to end closed-door sessions of council; to create a council that acts as a board of directors with the civic staff having responsibility of day-to-day operations, and the people’s business will be done in the open.
One of his/her promises catches the voter’s attention. He/she promises to cancel all city-funded credit cards and memberships to private clubs. It’s a populist move that is small change when the new council must tackle tough fiscal hangover problems.
Is this a pipe dream, or a real possibility? With the right team behind the Candidate for Mayor dedicated to restoring the city with meaningful operational changes, realty is within our grasp.
There are few simple solutions for the new council to resolve … just a lot of big problems. The next four-year term of council will be fraught with difficulties, including some decisions that could make members politically vulnerable.
Getting the debt under control, streamlining civic staff to be more effective with fewer people and/or keeping taxes below the rate of inflation.
The days of La La Land will end October 2014. That’s when some competent people take over the administration.
Hopefully the newcomers will bring some smarts to the table including the ability to read a balance sheet.